“Here’s something interesting,” I say pointing at my tablet.

We’re in London for our Storytelling Expedition Around the World. After our meeting, Maarten and I made a stop in Nero for a café latte and to check our email.

“I’ve just received a LinkedIn message,” I continue, “from Jeani Rodgers, global communications director at Lowe. I’ll read it out to you…”

“Dear Anouk, I see from your LinkedIn status that you are in town. We follow your global storytelling expedition and have become fans of your work. I have someone here who I think you would like to meet…Our global creative director from Colombia has a story worth sharing. But he’s only in town for a few days…”

“Sounds intriguing,” Maarten says. “We don’t know that many people in Colombia. Why don’t you give her a call?”

“Hi! Is that Jeani? Anouk here…Yes, that’s right, we’re here in London for a couple more days… … Wednesday? Sounds great. So tell me more, who are we talking about?… … Okay –Tomorrow ten o’clock is great. See you then!”

“So? What was that all about?” Maarten asks, as I put away my phone.

“Okay, listen,” I say. “Jeani is sending us more details, but it boils down to the following. Jose Miguel Sokoloff, the guy we are going to meet, is partner of Lowe-SSP3 in Bogota, and their global CCO. His agency has been awarded all sorts of awards for their creative work. But here’s the really interesting angle. They are trying to solve the conflict with FARC, the Colombian guerilla army… with a communication campaign!?!”

”That does sound interesting. I would love to hear how a creative guy help solve a political conflict,” says Maarten. “What’s been planned? Where do we meet?”

Lowe-SSP3 Campaign to demobilise FARC
Lowe-SSP3 Campaign to demobilise FARC


We are talking to Jose Miguel Sokoloff, global CCO for Lowe and partner of Lowe-SSP3 Bogota. Jose has been using creativity to try and help solve the guerilla war that has been raging in his home country Colombia for decades.

“Before I share my story, let me ask you a question,” Jose starts. “Have you ever been to Colombia? I see you spend a lot of time in Brazil. If you think Brazil is booming, wait until you see Colombia.”

“To be honest, we would like to go, but the stories we hear are not overly joyful,” Maarten says.

Jose replies, with a smile. “Yeah, I’ve heard a thing or two about Amsterdam too! But it seemed kind of okay when I visited last time. It’s true though, of course. Everyone knows some of the issues Colombia has been facing for as long as I can remember,” he says wryly. I am now 50, and have never known peace in my own country. I live in the city, and most of the war takes place in the jungle. But still, it affects everyone. There is one third of my country that I just can’t visit if I am to stay safe, however much I would love to. If I go to other countries, like Ecuador “next door”, I see people living in freedom.”

“That must be really frustrating,” I say.

“It is,” Jose continues. “It’s frustrating and makes me a little sad. Peace is what I want, for myself and for my four children. I have been wanting to change things forever… So that’s where we are at now. I am trying to change things. I used to work for a large international agency where we worked for multinationals, selling detergents and cars. Don’t get me wrong, I love that work, but I wanted to give something back to society as well. So that is why I started my own agency, as a way of increasing our ability to influence the things around us. By having local clients as well, alongside the global accounts we have at Lowe, we can influence the way they communicate, help them give back to society and in doing so change things. Of course, it is not just me. We have a whole team of professional and passionate people whom I work with to get things done and to make the difference.”

© 2013 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands

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